Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Neelkanth Temple is one of the most revered holy shrines of the Hindus. Located on a hill above Swarg Ashram in Haridwar, Neelkanth Temple is easily accessible from here. The temple lies at a comfortable distance of 12 kms and can also be reached from Rishikesh. The way to this temple is surrounded by lush green hills and rivers, providing some of the most beautiful sights, one has ever seen. Many pilgrims come to this temple by trekking, which takes around 4 hours from Rishikesh.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is believed to be the most complex Gods of the Hindu pantheon. The establishment of this temple has a legend behind it. According to the mythological stories, Lord Shiva drank the poison that appeared from the 'Sagar Manthan' (churning of ocean). This place is said to have been the same place, where Lord Shiva drank the poison. On drinking the poison, his throat turned blue and from that time onwards, Lord Shiva came to be known as 'Neelkantha' (One having blue throat).
Encircled by the hills of Manikoot, Vishnukoot and Brahmakoot, Neelkantha Temple is to be found at a height of 1330 meters. The way to this shrine is quite a thrilling one. The steep and narrow roads, taking above the hill, where river is flowing on one side, send chills down to the spine. Positioned at the union of Madhumati and Pankaja rivers, Neelkantha Temple is placed between the picturesque hills of Uttaranchal.
The temple complex has also got one natural spring where devotees usually take a holy bath. The main shrine of the temple comprises a Shiva lingam (phallic form of Lord Shiva). The spiritual aura of the temple creates a devotional feeling in the hearts of people. People make an offering of coconut, flowers, milk, honey, fruits and water to the Lord. Subsequently, devotees get 'Parshad' of vibhuti, chandan and other things from the shrine.
The temple observes two fairs that held annually on the occasion of Shivratri (Feb-Mar) and Shivratri of Shravan (July-Aug). At that time, the temple is thronged by thousands of pilgrims. This place is also loved by tourists for its picturesque beauty. Neelkanth Temple is a holy place that provides a celestial affection to the people, who visit the shrine with a devoted heart.